After almost a 2 year wait, the Google Penguin algorithm has finally updated – much to the joy of all SEOers in the industry! This is now the fourth major update of Penguin, patently named Google Penguin 4.0, with the last update (Google Penguin 3.0) coming on October 17 2014.
Google has announced that it’s the last update of its kind with Penguin now integrating within the core search algorithm as a ‘real time’ signal. Due to this, Google have confirmed that future Penguin updates will not be announced with the process now being constantly rolled out. The full update will impact websites across all Google country specific search engines.
Although, the announcement was made last Friday, Twitter has been awash with speculation all week. Google’s Gary Illyes mentioned last night, that the recovery section of the algorithim was still rolling out and would take a few more days to finish.
@atmoore81 it’s happening as we speak. or tweet. it will take a few more days to finish that part
— Gary Illyes (@methode) 28 September 2016
Mozcast, which tracks SERP volitility supports this notion as it recorded record temperatures of 113c on Tuesday!
What is Penguin?
So here’s a quick re-cap on what Penguin is if you’re unaware…
Google first launched the Penguin update in April 2012 to combat sites which were buying links or through manipulative tactics primarily aimed at increasing Google rankings. Following this, there have been six Penguin updates in total until the latest release in September 2016.
Penguin 4.0: The Key Change
In the past, the list of sites effected by Penguin would be updated all at the same time. If a website made an effort to improve their link profile, it would take until the next update that a recovery would be seen for the site.
With this update, Google now refreshes in real time. This means any updates which are made to a websites link data will be acted upon immediately once Google has re-crawled and indexed the pages.
On previous Penguin updates, a whole website would be effected if Google detected an aggressively linked page or area of a site – this has now changed. The new rolling Penguin updates will now only impact rankings where the individual source of spammy links is deriving from and the rest of the site will remain fine.
To put this into context:
If you are an e-commerce furniture store which has built manipulative links for pages within the product area of ‘sofas’ but all other pages have ethical clean links, only ‘sofa’ keyword rankings will see the effect.
What this means to you?
Due to the real time and granular (page/phrase level) nature of the update, gone are the days where a website’s traffic sores or declines on release day. Instead, we’ll see a more gradual gain/loss in SERP positions that will be harder to pinpoint. Therefore, to combat this, we’ve made the following adjustments to our monthly client health checks:
Over the years at twentysix, through rigorous test and learn cycles we’ve developed a successful link analysis product that analyses links from eight separate link databases to give us the most comprehensive view of your link profile. This investment in R&D time has allowed us to become successfully in mitigate risk across our entire client base.
The twentysix view
Whilst Penguin rumours have garnered most of the headlines in recent times, it’s important to remember that Penguin is one of more than 200 ranking signals that Google uses to judge the quality of a website. Our SEO campaigns focus on improving these signals in line with Google’s view of high quality websites – the continuation of sound technical enhancement, content development and a progressive earned media approach are just as essential as any remedial link activities.
You can find out more information from Google’s official announcement of the update: